The Early November: A Current Affair
26-Dec-2012 Words: Brendan Crabb
Latest release: In Currents (Rise/Shock)
Band site: www.facebook.com/earlynovember
Festival site: www.soundwavefestival.com
After a six-year gap following the release of 2006’s triple concept album The Mother, The Mechanic and The Path, American rock/pop-punk/indie outfit The Early November came storming back with third full-length In Currents earlier this year. Building on this momentum, the band will also be a part of the sold out Soundwave 2013, their first tour Down Under. Loud got guitarist/ keyboardist Joseph Marro on the phone while on an extended break from touring to receive the inside word about their return from a lengthy hiatus.
Q: You’re off the road at the moment. The Early November has seemingly always done things at their own pace anyway, but is building in lengthy amounts of time off between tours a necessity for the band?
A: Well, we all keep pretty busy. Ace (Enders), our singer has his studio and records other bands, and I manage other bands. So we make pretty good use of our time off. We’ll probably do some stuff through the holidays; maybe a show or two, but we’ll have to see. But overall, we just keep busy and keep up with the band stuff. I’ve got some stuff planned for the band to kind of release while we’re not touring, so it should be busy without necessarily having to tour, so that’s good. I think Ace does a lot of writing on the road; we usually don’t hear it until much, much later, until it comes the time to make a record. Sometimes during sound-check we’ll jam out some music and just see where it goes, and sometimes that becomes something.
Q: You’ve got the Soundwave run coming up. What are your expectations for the festival?
A: I don’t know. I’ve done the Soundwave tour before, but with a different band, so I know how it goes and it’s awesome. So I’m excited just to be there. However, The Early November has never played Australia; we’ve never been there in the history of the band, so I’m extremely excited, but also a little nervous about how it’s going to go over. We always wanted to get over there as a band, but we just never got the offer. I actually got to go over there a couple of times over the past four years, and just love the place. It’s such a gorgeous country and the people are so nice. The food is very delicious too.
Q: Who are you keen to catch at the festival?
A: I want to see Fucked Up; because never in a million years would we have played with them on a regular show. So I want to see those guys and girl. I’m excited to see Blink-182; I haven’t seen them in probably 15 years. And Paramore, who I kinda know a little bit as well, I’m excited to see them.
Q: It’s been a while between drinks for the band with regard to studio albums. Did you envision it would be such a lengthy gap when you initially went on hiatus, or is that just the way it worked out?
A: To be honest, I think when we went on hiatus we were just saying that to be safe, to cover ourselves. I don’t think we were thinking of getting back together. So the fact that it was only as short as it was, or as long, depending on who you ask… I think that’s a good thing. But now we’re just unbelievably excited and grateful to be back doing what we do. ‘Cause we didn’t really think it was going to happen, so that makes it even sweeter.
Q: What have been some of the highlights since you started touring again?
A: It’s really fun to revisit these things that we haven’t done as this band in a long time. So we’ve been just having fun on the road and playing shows again. The first show that we did back here in Philadelphia was the best show, best night of my life, and I think all of our lives really. Playing that show was just incredibly overwhelming. But since then, just going to L.A. again; these guys hadn’t been here in a long time, and playing to an awesome crowd. There’s still a lot of places we want to get to though; there’s a lot on our “to-do” list.
Q: The style of music you play – call it emo, screamo, pop/punk, indie or whatever else - has gone through somewhat of a transformation during the time you were away. What’s your take on that?
A: Yeah, I think pop/punk is pretty big now, at least here in the States with bands like The Wonder Years and Man Overboard that are carrying, flying that flag really high and proudly. It’s nice for us, because we’ve been… I guess we’re kind of looked at as these middle-aged kind of punk rock or indie rock guys, or whatever it is. ‘Cause we’ve been doing it for a while, so there’s that. It was cool to let the younger kids go out and have their time. But it’s nice to be accepted right away; we’re at that point where we’re not too old, but also we’re old enough to get respect, which I like a lot (laughs).
Q: (Laughs) Do you consider yourselves a pop/punk band at all, or has that tag never really sat well with you?
A: Oh, it doesn’t really matter. When I was younger I probably cared a lot more about tags, or scenes, or whatever. I never listened to a whole lot of pop/punk growing up, so I didn’t ever really identify with it too much myself. But when we got signed to Drive-Thru Records, I started to just kinda get into that world. So I see how it makes sense. I just consider us to be kind of an alternative rock band; that may make me an old man, but that’s how I see it.
Q: Alternative rock isn’t a term that gets used too often these days. To be honest, I’ve always associated it more with a time, place and attitude than any particular sound. Do you see yourselves as having a style and ethos more rooted in that “scene” or period?
A: That’s always been a challenge with this band is we never quite… We didn’t always 100 per cent fit into any genre. We were too far punk to be indie rock, and we were too kind of dark and not catchy to be pop/punk. So we never quite fit in. All I can say is that our influences were always in the more, Jimmy Eat World, The Promise Ring and late 90s indie rock bands. That’s where our influences came from; now, whether or not we sound anything like that, I don’t know. But that’s just where we came from personally. So I guess that’s what I would consider us. Whatever genre that is or was (laughs). Everyone in the band definitely has their own (tastes), but our common ground has been probably Jimmy Eat World, (that) was probably number one. That was our favourite band at the time of starting the band. And still to this day, we reference that band all the time. They’re still the band we want to tour with, more than any other band. But we just haven’t got the chance to.
Q: Record labels, especially in the current music industry climate are looking for bands they can easily compartmentalise and sell to a certain audience. Often, they’ll just slap some kind of label on them anyway, whether it fits or not.
A: Yeah, it’s been a challenge for a lot of bands who just don’t quite identify with one particular scene that does well. You’ve just got to make the music you want to make, regardless of that. That’s always been kind of our motto and idea, is just to do what we do and see how the people take it. That’s why at the end of the day, if somebody calls us pop/punk and another person calls us emo, post-hardcore or just rock, or whatever they want to say, it’s completely fine with me. I just want people to like it (laughs).
Q: Any famous last words?
A: We’re just really excited after all this time to be able to come back and do things, like Soundwave, and just go to Australia in general, after having been gone for so long. We’re just really grateful and really pleased to go there. So thanks to you guys and all of Soundwave for having us.
The Early November plays the sold out Soundwave Festival in February/March.
You can also catch them with Motion City Soundtrack and Deaf Havana on the following dates-
25/2: The HiFi, Melbourne VIC- Over 18s only www.thehifi.com.au
28/2: The Factory, Sydney NSW (Lic. A/A) www.ticketek.com.au
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